First Amendment News

Supreme Court rules for Boston Christian flag in free speech case

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that once Boston establishes a public forum, in this case a flagpole, and allows groups and individuals to fly flags in concert with an event, it could not forbid a citizen from flying a Christian flag. (Courthouse News Service, May 2, 2022, by Thomas F Harrison) The court rejected Boston’s contention that it was necessary to ban the Christian Flag to refrain from endorsing a religion under the separation

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New federal law requires transparency for federal judge’s financial dealings

The U.S. Congress showed rare bipartisanship in passing a law to subject Supreme Court justices and federal judges to more stringent disclosure of their holdings and stock transactions. The law will enable the public to see for themselves if judges have a conflict of interest in cases before them. (Reuters, April 27, 2022, by Nate Raymond and Moira Warburton) The law requires judges to report stock transactions of stocks and securities over $1000 within 45

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Free speech defense may fail in Florida retraction of Disney benefit

Some lawyers think that when Florida revoked Disney’s tax status for the company’s opposition to its “Don’t Say Gay” bill, the state violated its First Amendment rights. A government cannot retaliate against an entity for that entity’s exercise of free speech. (The Intercept, April 23, 2022, by Akela Lacy) Law professor Eugene Volokh, Reason, April 22, 2022, is skeptical that the free speech charge has lasting power given that Florida is stripping Disney of a

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Pen survey shows false information swamping journalists

A survey of over 1,000 journalists by Pen America showed that a deluge of false information is “changing the practice of journalism, disrupting newsroom processes, draining the attention of editors and reporters, demanding new procedures and skills, jeopardizing community trust in journalism, and diminishing journalists’ professional, emotional, and physical security.” Sixty-six of those surveyed said they were spending more time dealing with falsehoods. One in four felt overwhelmed by the amount of fact-checking to complete

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Obama spurs debate over how to curb faulty information

Former President Barack Obama voiced concern over the proliferation of false information that is hurting the U.S. as seen in the statistic that one in five refuse vaccination for Covid-19 in the belief it will damage them. He suggests several reforms for the internet from greater transparency on algorithms to slowing the spread of viral posts to allow fact checking. (Platformer, April 21, 2022. by Casey Newton) Stanford professor Michell Mello addressed the problem of

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